As cool as watching the clock while famous drivers wrestle cars around a track is, one of the most interesting and more fascinating aspects of time attack for me has always been the cars themselves. So while I really do enjoy to shoot action, it’s the paddock that attracts me the most at the yearly Super Battle, checking what cars have shown up, looking at them in detail, chatting with tuners and drivers and generally soaking up the atmosphere.
However before the start of any event in Tsukuba, there is always the mandatory meeting for each of the drivers. This is where the head marshal lets them all know of the general track-rules, where to exit the track from and what to do in the case of mechanical issues or in worst case scenario a crash. Once this was done it was over to Tsukamoto-san, the chief editor of Rev Speed and the man that for years now has been responsible for putting this awesome event together. His words were simple and to the point, “be careful and have fun out there,” a great bit of advice…
…to start the day off with. With 78 cars entered, you can imagine this means quite a few drivers and the VIP lounge on top of the pit garages was pretty full with eager time attackers.
Drivers like Taniguchi-san have one hell of a busy day ahead of themselves as they are hired by different shops to extract the fastest possible times from their cars. A lot of the scheduling is organized so that these high-profile drivers…
…including favorites like Orido and of course Tarzan Yamada, can drive all the cars they have been hired to steer.
With the formalities over and done with, it was on to the paddock, which for 7 am was already well and truly buzzing with life.
This Z34 is built by Garage Tsutomu which had come all the way up from Mie-ken. The shop specializes in Zs and might be worth a visit next time I am down there.
Subtleness is something I admire in any car and no other vehicle present was quite as “to the point” as the Arvou S2000. Despite being entered in the Open Class it didn’t feature wild wide body aero, but a simpler few choice additions. In the company of Suzuki’s S15 and ASM’s AP1 it looked almost too “stock” but in no way was this reflected in its time because this thing lapped Tsukuba in a 59.047 sec, a hair’s width away from a 58-sec time!
And while on the subject of simplicity nothing can quite touch a Roadster, where the basics – along with lightness – come above everything else. This Ken Auto NA which had come down from Sendai to compete, managed a best of 1:05.306
After seeing the Trust FR-S at countless shows this year, it was finally good to see it used for what it had been built for. The guys at Trust have been working hard trying to develop their soon to be released (probably around June 2013 time) bolt-on turbo kit…
…which allows the FA20 to develop around 280 HP. This equated to a 1:04.570 lap, a decent starting point for a car that was only just shaken down the previous day.
But, like I mentioned in my first post the other day, it was the Bandoh and Scorch Racing 86 that set a benchmark for the all ZC6/ZN6. The 59.728 sec Orido managed to extract out of it is noting short of incredible! I mean even tuned R35 GT-Rs where struggling to get this sort of times back in 2007/2008 when the car had just come out.
Lots of boost is obviously the key here, as well as a light weight. In fact the whole front section of the car (bumper/fenders/hood and roof) are all dry carbon.
I’m sure we will be seeing a lot of this thing in the next few months!
Yokoyama-san, the president of Phoenix’s Power, had come all the way from Kyoto with his new project…
…based on the 86. Work on the car has just began and aside from a full Endless braking kit, Aragosta dampers and a ignis aero kit is still very much stock. The 1:04.983 Taniguchi extracted is a very good start.
Ross from AVO Turboworld Japan was busy fine-tuning his widebody GDB which, as the years have gone by, has been getting faster and faster managing a 58.648 sec lap on the final session of the day.
In between sessions Ross keeps the tires nice and hot thanks to some tire warmers. Temperature is set at around 78-deg C.
Tazawa-san of Garage G-Force was back at Tsukuba with his Evo X beast that was built in collaboration with Varis who took care of the aero and Sunbeam who handled the suspension and braking. Visually, the car hasn’t changed much since we featured it….
…but a little more tuning has obviously been done for Nob to have extracted a 57-sec lap out of it!
Like Revoluton, Pan Speed left their fully blown track attack monster at the shop…
…preferring to show up with their other FD3S demo car…
…which Sasaki Kouta had been hired to drive.
This RX-7 in no way boasts extreme modifications like their wide body time attacker, but despite what the Pan Speed mechanics describe “a more road-oriented tune,” was able to lap Tsukuba in 58.180 sec, coming ever so close to a 57! Needless to say the RX-7 remains one of the best and most capable time attack cars to ever come out of Japan.
Lexus tuner Novum brought their IS-F demonstrator, which was probably one of the best sounding cars present. Best it got was a 1:03.181, a very decent time for a street going luxury sports sedan.
The ARMS S15, which we featured earlier this year, remains one of my favorite Silvias in Japan. It managed a 59.660 sec with Mitsuhiro Kinoshita behind the wheel, running on street radials.
D Language, a recently established player in the Japanese aftermarket and racing world, made quite an entrance at the Super Battle by showing up with a total of four cars!
Their GRB was their fastest car managing a very respectable 58.587 sec lap.
I was keen to check out the Revolution ZN6 as I thought it was quite curious that they had shown up with this car rather than their FD3S. Contrary to popular belief Revolution does tune other cars, in fact back in the day I shot the president’s Acura NSX and one of their customer’s Supra. I found their approach to the 86 quite cool, keeping the engine stock for the time being but concentrating on dropping weight with lots of dry carbon parts in the engine by and wet carbon doors. They have managed to get the curb weight down to 1060 kg.
Even Nob was impressed. Best lap on the day was a 1:03.805.
I think I much preferred the Rasty 86 before the graphics.
The Suzuki Swift Sport is a very popular entry level time attack car in Japan, and as this Forest Racing example proves can be made to look so aggressive!
Admix, builders of the wild Supra we looked at some time back, entered their new BNR32 project at the Super Battle. The Skyline is almost stock, as Motojima-san told us, so the 1:03.118 it recorded was a sort of baseline time from which they will work on from now on.
Cooling system anyone?
Action shots will be next from the Super Battle, but for now I will leave you with this snap of the stunning TCS Nara flat-white M3…oh and a few desktops below!
-Dino Dalle Carbonare
Great feature man! I always look forward to coverage of this event, and as usual, its your coverage that seems to be the most thorough. Looking forward to seeing more on the Advance 47, as I'm a bit obsessed with that car!
I've noticed something pretty funny in the comments on this post and some other recent posts as well: people are lightly complaining about lack of detail on a specific model/car. All I can say is welcome to a day in the life of a Honda enthusiast that isn't really interested in the stance movement.
Either way, great coverage Dino--can't wait for more.
@goon Either you have been hanging out with the wrong crowd or just late to the game, but real Honda enthusiasts were always about racing. Even in the US, where most fads originate (like the first "rice" epidemic of late '90s and the second wave, more commonly known as hellaflush or stance), it all started with auto-x in the mid-'80s with the help of what was later known as King Motorsports (google it). There was drag racing in the '90s that even got the Japanese players to join the phenomenon. And thanks to crews like the FF Squad, who brought back that old school flavor that got most people into Hondas in the first place (before the "rice" epidemic), inspired more people to track their cars in the early 2000s, which continues on to this day.
apex_DNA goon Hahaha it was a just a passing comment, no more. I meant that a lot of the coverage/press that Honda gets is centered around stance. Of course, racing examples still show up i.e. the Mighty Mouse CRX a couple of posts before this one, Honda Challenge, etc. I'm also familiar with King Motorsports, but haven't heard much from them as of late. Are they still building turnkey motors?
@goon Either way I felt like reminding anyone reading the comments section what Hondas are all about, nothing personal. King still does the engine work if that's what you're wondering.
Dino, do you have any closeup pics of the Lotus' trunk area? I am curious how that Voltex/Outer Plus wing is mounted, if it on the clamshell or through to the chassis.
Great pics and coverage
speedhunters_dino Well please include some more Lotus shots in your follow up post then! :)
I'm curious as to know if any Porsche oriented tuner shops have entered in TSB since its inception? I would think something like a GT3 Cup car would do relatively well at Tsukuba.
IsaiahRoberts There have been a few, even an ATTKD tuned GT2 and MCR GT3, but none have broken under the 1-minute barrier as far as I remember
I would like to see Oriodo's Drift car run a lap and see what that monster could pull. It probably is my favorite 86 out there. And more coverage please, I love time attack!!!
Option13 I think there was a feature on it last season. I'm not completely sure, but I remember it definitely has gotten pretty good coverage in the past.
"They have managed to get the curb weight down to 1060 kg."
Thats mighty impressive for a modern car.
Question, Is Rev Speed still releasing videos/dvd from their time attack events? I have a few sets from like 2004, 2005 but can't find anything else. Any idea where to find them if so? More Desktops please. Great post too.
MattClarke Best I can do is let you know once the magazine is on sale but I didn't see any camera crews filming like in previous years.
danjapan13 Haha, I know what you mean, but unfortunately not everyone out there appreciates these sort of low-profile events I guess
@speedhunters_dino @danjapan13 Low profile?! This is one of the most important events that people wait for every year.
manekineko It was the only one entered in the Open Class, therefore it was the only one
I just confirmed with my friend Koji (Bandoh mechanic) this is him working on their 86! http://cdn.speedhunters.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/TSB12-033.jpg
So awesome, keep taking photos of my friends! hahaha.